MCL Injury | Murphy, MO Physical Therapy
MCL Injury in Murphy, MO. If someone plays sports or engages in other physical activity, feeling that sudden “pop” in their knee creates a lot of doubts: Did I injure my MCL? How bad is the injury? How long will it take to recover? Will I ever be able to perform at the same level again? At Axes Physical Therapy in Murphy, MO, all of our physical and occupational therapists are dedicated to getting our clients back to sprinting down the court. While we’d like to be able to make your MCL injury go away, we can make your recovery safe and effective through tailored, proven treatment plans. Physical therapy has proven to be a critical aspect of recovering from any MCL injury. Our physical therapists in Murphy, MO are all licensed and average more than 15 years of individual experience. For treatment plans you know will be effective, reach out to the Axes location most convenient for you you or contact us online.
The Anatomy of the MCL
MCL is an abbreviation for “medial collateral ligament.” A ligament is a tough, flexible of connective tissue that affixes bone to bone and keeps joints stable. The MCL runs from the inside of your upper shin bone to the inside of your bottoms thigh bone and maintains stability in the inner knee. Its functions to guard against valgus stress, or the knee being forced too far towards the other one. It is one of four ligaments in the knee, along with the:
- ACL (anterior cruciate ligament), which runs down the center of your knee and controls rotation and prevents the knee from bending inward
- PCL (posterior cruciate ligament), which crosses the ACL in the middle of the knee and prevents excessive posterior translation of the tibia relative to the femur
- LCL (lateral collateral ligament), which attaches the thigh bone to the fibula (the smaller bone in the lower leg) and helps keep the outer side of your knee joint stable
The knee is known for being one of our most complex joints. Correct structure and movement depends on surrounding bone, muscle, tendons, and ligaments. When any knee injury, such as an MCL tear, occurs it can greatly affect your mobility and ability to do what you love most, or just live a pain-free day-to-day life. Certain physical therapy exercises and other physician-prescribed treatment plans have been demonstrated through research and studies to help those who have suffered an MCL injury reduce pain and return to optimal mobility.
What Types of MCL Injuries Are There?
Generally speaking, an MCL injury is either a sprain, which stretches the ligament beyond its normal limits, or a tear, where the MCL is either partially or completely torn or separated from the bone. There are three grades to MCL injuries:
- Grade 1 — A grade 1 sprain or tear means that the ligament has been stretched, and less than 10% of the MCL has been torn. It’s typically a mild injury, and your knee will still be stable. You will likely experience some tenderness and some soreness.
- Grade 2 — This injury is when the MCL suffers more significant tearing, most commonly to the superficial part of the ligament. Your knee will be slightly unstable, and your joint may be loose when manipulated manually. Symptoms of a grade 2 MCL injury generally include much more noticeable pain.
- Grade 3 — This injury is a complete tear to both the fibrous and deep parts. You will likely feel like your knee’s about to buckle. You will likely experience intense pain and a wide array of symptoms. Grade 3 MCL injuries often occur alongside other knee injuries such as ACL tears.
However significant your MCL injuries, our expert Murphy, MO physical and occupational therapists at Axes can, as a team with your doctor, implement a comprehensive and tailored plan to get you back to the activities your love most in a safe and effective manner.
MCL Injuries: Causes and Symptoms
Ligament injuries account for 40% of all knee injuries, and the MCL is the most commonly injured ligament. Most MCL injuries occur due to a force to the outer edge of the knee. MCL injuries can also by the knee rotating more than the ligament can support. They can also take place when landing or excessive bending, such as if a cleat is stuck in grass while you’re moving.
Athletes in contact sports are the most likely to sustain an MCL injury. They can also occur in people who lift weights or lift heavy objects at their employment.
Common Symptoms of MCL Injuries
Most people feel pain immediately on the inside of the knee when they experience an MCL sprain or tear. Other symptoms may include:
- Hearing or feeling a popping sound or feeling
- Pain or discomfort when trying to bear weight
- Tenderness along the inside of the joint
- Inflammation, either of the MCL area or the whole knee
Sometimes you may feel a “wobbly” sensation, while other times the knee feels too stiff. If you experience any of the above symptoms, stop any strenuous activity immediately and seek medical treatment for a diagnosis.
Diagnosing and Treating an MCL Injury in Murphy, MO
MCL injuries are diagnosed in a physical examination. In the examination, your Murphy, MO doctor or physical therapist will go over what led to the injury, will feel for swelling and how your knee is different from your healthy knee, and check for stability.
Most physical therapists or physicians that specialize in mobility of the human body in Murphy, MO are qualified to diagnose an MCL injury with the above procedures. Other tests to check severity or to confirm may include:
- An MRI (magnetic resonance imaging), which uses a magnet and radio waves to take detailed images of the inside of your knee
- An ultrasound, which uses sound waves and can be helpful in checking the severity of your injury
- An X-ray, which, while it won’t show the MCL or other ligaments, to insure your femur, kneecap, tibia, and fibula have not been broken
Axes Physical Therapy also offers injury screening injury screenings at no cost or obligation to you. While we can determine if you have suffered an MCL sprain or tear, Missouri Revised Statute §334.506 requires a prescription for further physical therapy.
How MCL Injuries are Treated in Murphy, MO
Typically, treating an MCL injury begins with basic first aid: swelling reduction, reducing pain, and utilizing the R.I.C.E. Method of Rest, Ice, Compression, and Elevation. For grade 1 injuries, the R.I.C.E method, pain and swelling relievers, and some time spent off your feet may be all you need for your body to heal itself.
More significant injuries will require professional physical therapy in order truly recover from your MCL injury and get back to the activities you love. You’ll also need to refrain from most physical until your knee is strong again. Your Axes physical therapist in Murphy, MO will be able to fit you for a knee brace in order to prevent your knee from becoming more instable while your MCL is still healing. Even with physical therapy, you’ll likely still continue the R.I.C.E. method and anti-inflammatory medication.
Surgery is typically only needed with severe grade 1 MCL injuries, or if the MCL tear is accompanied by an ACL tear or other damage to the knee. During the surgery, a surgeon will use a graft, either from one of your other ligaments or from another person, to reconstruct the MCL. You would be able to go home the day of the surgery. If your doctor thinks surgery is necessary, our physical therapists are experts at pre- and post-surgical rehabilitation to make your surgery and recovery as successful as possible.
How Do Physical Therapists in Murphy, MO Treat MCL Injuries?
The objective of physical therapy, when dealing with any injury, is to create safe and evidence-backed treatments, each aimed at helping a specific part of the body get back to optimal movement health. These treatments and exercises will, over time, build strength in the surrounding muscles, flexibility of soft tissue, and range of motion to the joint so you can get back to what you love most and prevent further injury. A physical therapist may recommend and implement the following practices:
- At the start, light motions performed by your physical therapist to help restore normal functionality
- Exercised performed by you later to further develop strength and flexibility
- Exercises with resistant bands, weight lifting equipment, or cardio machines such as treadmill
- Instrument-assisted soft tissue mobilization, which studies show can accelerate knee ligament healing
- Kinesio Taping®, which keeps the knee stable and helps control motion
- Trigger point dry needling to stimulate harder-to-reach tissue
- Blood flow restriction training to help you make greater strength gains while lessening stress on the joint
- Athletic training and sports therapy for those whose main goal is to get back onto the court or field
At Axes Physical Therapy in Murphy, MO, all of our treatment plans are as unique as each patient, and created with the help of your doctor, in order to deliver you the best client experience and get you back to the activities you love.
Other injuries we help treat in Murphy, MO include:
- Shoulder Pain
- Injury Prevention
- Knee Injury
- Joint Pain
- Dry Needling
- ACL Tear
- Pain Management
Call an Axes Physical Therapist in Murphy, MO for Your MCL Injury
An MCL injury is scary and anxiety-inducing at first, especially if you’re an athlete or someone who finds joy in an active lifestyle, but there’s no reason it has to put you on the sideline forever. We know you place a lot of trust in your physical therapists, so we repay that trust with safe and effective treatments that are backed by evidence. As part of our program, we’ll educate you on your injury and how the knee works so you can stay as healthy and active as possible. For meaningful and lasting recovery from your MCL injury in Murphy, MO, call the location nearest you and request an appointment online.